After the dust settled on the 2022 midterm primaries, one of the notable victories was that of Army Special Forces veteran Pat Harrigan in the 14th congressional district. And with a better-than-usual year for Republicans, this Democratic-leaning district could come into play.
“2022 is shaping up to be a red wave election, with the generic Congressional ballot favoring Republicans by 10%,” said Andy Jackson, who is director of the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity. “There are three Democratic-leaning districts that Republicans could take advantage of: 1st, 6th, and 14th.”
And there are signs that the NCGOP might start to see 14th as a potentially winnable seat. At the annual NC Republican Convention in Greensboro, the party fronted Harrigan alongside two other key congressional races.
“Ted Budd will soon be here to retake the majority in the Senate, with Bo Hines and Pat Harrigan helping to take Pelosi’s gavel away in the United States House!” the NCGOP said in a Facebook post at the convention.
Additionally, directly after its May 17 victory, the NCGOP said, “Congratulations Pat Harrigan, winner of the 14th Republican Primary in the North Carolina Congressional District! Fighters like Pat are essential to restoring leadership that protects our values and promotes prosperity across North Carolina and the country! »
Harrigan spoke to the Carolina Journal at his victory party about his background, why he decided to run and his upcoming run against well-known Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson. And he is optimistic about his chances.
“I own a business; I look at investments in terms of money and time,” Harrigan said. “I wouldn’t waste my time and money if I didn’t think this race was absolutely winnable.”
He said it’s “very clear that if this district had a problem with our former president, it didn’t have a problem with the Republicans at the bottom of the ticket.” Harrigan added that those who say “this neighborhood is not winnable are not doing the hard work that needs to be done to understand what the heart and soul of this neighborhood really is and the direction that people in this neighborhood want to go. .”
Harrigan said he and his wife Rocky came to North Carolina in 2013 and live in south Charlotte. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was posted to Fort Bragg in Fayetteville after being selected for the United States Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. He served until 2018.
“I’ve had an interesting life. At 34, I have lived more and had the privilege of having very dynamic experiences from an early age. At 23, I was in charge of a small air-access-only combat outpost in the middle of Afghanistan. When all my peers were in charge of 40 people, I was managing 350 people there. When I joined the Special Forces and brought a team back to Afghanistan, I was in some horrific gunfights that really shaped me, my character and what I believe in.
“After returning home, my wife and I started a business in our double-wide trailer west of Fayetteville. And we grew that in six short years to a 120,000 square foot facility on 80 acres with approximately 65 employees. I have a set of qualifications that many don’t have, and I can draw on my experience because I know what it means to sign the front of a paycheck, I know what it means to going to war, I know what it means to raise two beautiful little girls and be a husband for 12+ years. I know the stakes of life and can discern the truth as well as the neighbor. Thanks to these experiences, I know what is at stake in this election and I can channel them all into being a productive representative for the people of the 14th arrondissement.
Harrigan’s business expertise is in the firearms industry. He owns and operates several companies, such as ZRODelta, UnBrandedAR, and US Optics. Businesses are in Burke County because they involve explosives that need a more rural setting.
When asked why he thinks Gaston and South Mecklenburg counties should send a Republican to represent them in DC, Harrigan said it boiled down to a simple question: are you better now than there? two years old?
“I think the categorical answer is no, they are not. We traded $2 gas for $4 gas, $2.25 milk for $3.85 milk. We google how to make formula milk these days. This is not the America I know. The America I know doesn’t force Americans to choose between gas and groceries on a Thursday afternoon, and that’s where we’ve come to today, not to mention the fact that we have a unsecured southern border that poses multiple threats to the safety and security of our homeland. »
But North Carolina State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who faces Harrigan in November, clearly disagrees that a Republican would better serve the district. And in addition to the district’s Democratic leaning, Jackson has a big advantage when it comes to money and name recognition. He also garnered a large following on social media during this period. Jackson has served in the North Carolina Senate, representing District 37, since 2014. He was previously a candidate for United States Senate in North Carolina in 2021 before dropping out of the race.
“He voted very left-wing, and he’s extremely good at packaging what he does and distilling it so it doesn’t look like socialism,” Harrigan said of his opponent’s voting record. “He talks to you like the next door neighbor, saying I have your best interests at heart, but really when you strip away all the simple words, what you find is that his solutions always go to a big government, more government spending, and government is the solution, not the problem.His vote reflects that.
If elected in November, Harrigan said he would seek to put the economy at the top of his legislative priorities.
“We have to stop inflation now,” he said. “It hurts American families and we are about to leave behind an entire generation and leave a ton of people in debt. This must stop now. Our economic conditions must improve, and we must do so by returning to the time-tested principles that have made this nation great and prosperous.
Jackson has a big cash advantage at the end of April, with $857,000 to Harrigan’s $101,000, but Harrigan doesn’t think that’s an obstacle for his own campaign.
“Jeff ran all over the state for a year,” he said. “It’s not an insurmountable amount of money and it’s not what our team is afraid of. We truly believe that with the right candidate, the right engine behind that candidate, and the right timing, this district is 100% winnable. We think all of these ingredients intersect right now. »